The relevance of teacher factors in understanding tertiary students’ performances

Published date08 October 2018
Date08 October 2018
AuthorMaame Afua Nkrumah
Subject MatterEducation,Curriculum, instruction & assessment,Educational evaluation/assessment
The relevance of teacher factors
in understanding tertiary
Maame Afua Nkrumah
International Programmes and External Linkages Ofce,
Takoradi Technical University, Takoradi, Ghana
Purpose This study aims to nd out the relevance of observable teacher characteristics age, gender,
teachingexperience and qualication in understanding the performanceof tertiary students.
Design/methodology/approach A quantitative approach was taken. The input-processoutput-
context framework by Schereens(2004) was used in selecting appropriate variables for the study. Students
examination results and other administrative records as well as data collected via teacher survey were
analyzed usingmultilevel statistical techniques. Overall,40 teachers and over 1,800 students were involved in
the study.
Findings The effect of the selected teacher variables was mixed. For example, while female teachers
impacted negativelyon rst semester Communication Skills (CS1), their effecton the same course during the
second semester was positive. Also, teachers with teaching experiences between ve and eight years
impactednegatively on CS1 but positively on rst semester Computer Literacy (CL1).
Research limitations/implications Even at the tertiary level, the teacher factor is an important
variable inuencing student performance. However, a contextualized interpretation of the ndings is
emphasizedconsidering the fact that only one Ghanaian Polytechnic was studied.
Practical implications The study provides a starting pointfor building a body of evidence that would
inform policymakers, quality assurance practitioners and Polytechnic staff alike of possible approaches,
methodologiesand variables to focus on in ensuring internal quality.
Social implications The study would help the studied Polytechnicto direct its resources to areas that
can practicallyimprove educational quality and society in general.
Originality/value The study contributes to the debateabout quality in African higher education given
that studies that use the value-addedapproach in examining institutional effectiveness in the Africancontext
are almost non-existent.
Keywords Gender, Teacher age, Student performance, Qualication, Teaching experience
Paper type Research paper
Some researchers argue thatteachers have constant effect on the students they teachand so
linking teacher factors to studentperformance may have direct relevance for practice when
used appropriately (McCaffrey et al.,2004;Ballou, et al.,2004). Other studies have actually
found signicant relationship between specic teacher characteristics and student
achievement (Rivkinet al., 2005;Jepsen, 2005;Rockoff, 2004). For example, Dee (2006), found
teachers who shared the samegender or a different gender with students as communicating
differently and havingdifferent expectations from them.
In the African context, the Teaching and Learning International Survey Report (2010)
mentions that formal qualicationsappear to make much difference in developing countries
including Africa (appearedsignicant). A case in point is Yu and Thomasstudy (2008). The
Received21 February 2018
Revised19 June 2018
Accepted20 June 2018
QualityAssurance in Education
Vol.26 No. 4, 2018
pp. 476-488
© Emerald Publishing Limited
DOI 10.1108/QAE-02-2018-0017
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